Food safety investments factors in the Italian meat sector: conceptual framework and empirical evidence


The paper investigates how food safety investment decisions are affected on the one hand by laws and on the other by firm’s economic and organizational drivers. The paper shares findings from an empirical study that considers investments in HACCP, Certification, and Traceability in the Italian meat sector. The main finding of the study is that the allocation of the decision rights to invest in food safety explains the patterns of investment decisions observed. The conclusion is that regulatory interventions are more effective if there is a private possibility to allocate investment decision rights with respect to the distribution of information between private and public agents and the degree of uncertainty. The study contributes to the analysis of the allocation of the decision rights in the organization of value chain. Under this innovative view, it empirically shows how regulation and freedom of contract act as drivers of food safety investments. The research is particularly interesting in its policy implication: information regarding the role of these collective bodies will become relevant in the near future in the context of expected changes in the EU’s agricultural policy.